Good move for Charleston but likely too big for Beaufort

09 Jan Good move for Charleston but likely too big for Beaufort

Given the geographic size, bike friendly nature and the volume of people living and visiting on the City of Charleston Peninsula, Gotcha Bike or any other of the companies established to provide this service makes a lot of sense.  Over the past few months, several vendors approached me asking if it would work in Beaufort.

My initial response is likely not appropriate since we have bike rentals for visitors, most serious cyclers who commute in Beaufort have their own bicycles and the point-to-point opportunities (get a bike at one place and leave it at another) are not significant enough to warrant such a program.

If you feel otherwise, after reading below about Charleston, look into it and let me know your thoughts if this makes sense for a private entrepreneur and I will gladly take a look.  That said, though I have not talked with Council about it, I do not think this is something our small  city government can or should at this point take on.

Let me know your thoughts.

HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM

Gotcha Bike to launch bike share on Charleston peninsula

· Staff Report JAN 03, 2017
Charleston-based Gotcha Bike plans to launch a bicycle share program in downtown Charleston this spring, according to a news release. Charleston City Council recently voted to allow the bike company to operate the service on the peninsula. The bike share will essentially enable residents and tourists to rent bikes from stations around the city for a fee and return them when finished riding.

Gotcha Bike currently runs 18 bike-share programs at college, residential and corporate campuses around the country.
The company plans to launch its Charleston program with 250 bikes at up to 20 bike stations throughout the city. Three stations will be on the MUSC campus, with additional locations announced in the coming weeks, the release said. Users can find and reserve a bike on the app, website or bike keypad and then unlock it with a provided, four-digit code, according to the company website. Users can ride bikes anywhere and return them to one of the stations when finished. The company has not disclosed its Charleston rates.

“We believe in providing Charleston with a safe, healthy and sustainable mode of transportation,” Sean Flood, CEO of parent company. The Gotcha Group, said in the news release.

MUSC Health will sponsor the bike share; no details were shared on how much the sponsorship costs or how long it runs.

All Gotcha Bikes will be assembled in Charleston. The bike frames are lightweight and made of rustproof aluminum with waterproof Kevlar seats. They have flashing safety lights, which will be powered through a built-in solar panel, and a data hub, giving riders real-time analytics for each bike ride, such as calories burned and money saved by riding instead of driving. The company’s partner, Social Bicycles, will equip each bike with GPS technology, enabling users to locate and access bikes through a smartphone or computer.

“The bike share program in Charleston will give locals and visitors more options to move freely around the city,” Flood said.